Country Guide: Vietnam

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Updated: September 02, 2016

Household Goods and Personal Effects

Documents Required

  • Copy of passport (identification pages only) with entry stamp*
  • Packing list in English
  • Bill of lading (telex release) / air waybill (AWB)
  • Vietnam entry visa (valid at least 3 or more months) / temporary residence card*
  • Original Vietnam arrival-departure card  (3 copies shipment)**
  • Letter of employment
  • Copy of labor contract (Hanoi only)
  • Copy of business license
  • Vietnam employer’s company license copy
  • Copy of work permit (for all sea / air shipments over 300 kgs gross)*
  • Application letter
  • Owner of the goods’ address in Vietnam


Specific Information

  • All air shipments are physically inspected by Customs at the air terminal. 
    • The average time is approximately 1-2 days.
  • Sea shipments will normally undergo physical Customs inspection. 
    • The average time for Customs clearance is 2-3 days for full container load (FCL) shipments and 3-5 days for less container load (LCL) shipments.
  • Sea or air shipments of diplomatic status are exempt from Customs inspections (diplomats).
  • All shipments undergo cultural inspections. 
    • This process takes approximately 3-4 days. 
    • Inspection may include, but is not limited to, books, art works, DVDs, CDs, antiques.
  • All documents should be signed and stamped by the owners of the goods’ registered local employer in Vietnam.
  • Antiques shipped into Vietnam should be clearly photographed and well documented.
    • Antiques should be inspected and registered upon entry (takes an additional 2 - 3 days).
    • Details should be clearly noted on packing list and carton.
  • 3 copies of each document are required for each shipment. 
    • If there are multiple shipments, a separate set of documents (of 3) are required.
  • Ho Chi Minh:
    • *Certified true copies required, this can be obtained by bringing the original document to the People’s Committee Office of Ho Chi Minh City
    • **Documents must be signed and stamped (company seal) by the owner of the goods’ registered local employer in Vietnam.
  • Hanoi:
    • Customs requires labor contract copy in additional to above documents.
  • All documents must be signed and stamped (company seal) by the owner of the goods’ registered local employer in Vietnam.
    • Certified true copies are only required for passport and entry visa / temporary residence card.

Motor Vehicles

Documents Required

  • Original passport
  • Residency card
  • Proof of ownership
  • Original purchase invoice


Specific Information

  • Owners of the goods cannot bring / import any type of vehicle into Vietnam unless they are working for an UN organization or an Embassy / Consulate, which are under diplomatic status


Documents Required

  • Owner of the goods’ passport
  • Vaccination record
  • Owner of the goods’ entry visa (valid at least 3+ months)
  • International health certificate
  • Import permit
  • Flight arrival details
  • Original Vietnam arrival - departure card (3 copies per shipment) (pets traveling as cargo)
  • Vietnam employer’s company license copy (pets traveling as cargo)
  • Application letter and Power of Attorney (pets traveling as cargo)
  • Airway bill (pets traveling as cargo)


Specific Information

  • The import permit is required by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.
  • Quarantine for pets traveling as cargo is not required.
  • Pets should arrive on a weekday (M - F) before 3:30 p.m.

Restricted/Dutiable Items

  • Duty shall be payable on the following types of liquor at the rate expressed as a percentage of the value of the liquor:
    • Liquor with  alcohol by volume of less than 30% measured at 20°C:
      • 125-150%
    • Liquor with  alcohol by volume of more than 30% measured at 20°C:
      • 125-150%
    • Wine (10-20 bottles duty free):
      • 125-150%
  • Duty shall be payable on tobacco at the following rates:
    • >100 cigars:           150%    prepared tobacco (> 50 grams):                 45%
    • >400 cigarettes:      150%    all other manufactured tobacco products:      45%
  • Personal computers are charged import duty at 15%. 
  • Personal printers are charged duty at 10%.
  • Non-perishable food items and items in cans and other durable packaging can be imported in small amounts.

Prohibited Items

  • Weapons
  • Ammunitions
  • Explosives
  • Military equipment
  • Radio transmitters
  • Satellite dishes
  • Poisonous chemicals
  • Cultural products
  • Articles of anti-government nature
  • Fireworks
  • Toys and games which affect public moral education and security
  • Pornographic or subversive materials
  • Motorbikes

Consignment Instructions

Recommended:  Contact the destination agent to ensure all requirements have been met prior to import, especially for differences regarding air / sea shipments.


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IAM Note: Customs regulations can change at any time with or without notice. This document is provided as a guide and for information only. While IAM has exercised reasonable care in publishing this document, IAM makes no representation, either expressed or implied, as to its accuracy or applicability.